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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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reach tomorrow. thank you for joining us. "nightly news" is up next. . on the broadcast tonight, still waiting for the presents to show up and the power to come on. families are upset after crest mass packages aren't delivered. and tonight, hundreds of thousands of homes are still in the dark. the celebration. tonight, around the world, at the vatican the pope's christmas mess we're with the troops in afghanistan, and a country retreat for the royal family. and making a difference for a lot of good dogs this christmas. up in the air with a brand new ticket to a brand new life. nightly news begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc nightly news with brian williams. good evening.
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i'm in for brian tonight. it's been a tough day for more than 200,000 people still in the dark and cold, waiting for the power to come back on, days after a big ice storm. other families were left upset and empty handed after a backup for ups and fed ex meant some presents did not make it for christmas. we start off outside 30 rock here if new york. good evening. >> reporter: for folks who waited until today to travel for the holiday, it's been mostly smooth sailing. but in michigan and elsewhere, the weather is adding to the headache some people are feeling. near grand rapids, michigan, weather made for treacherous driving again today. crews there and in maine spent christmas in the bitter cold, trying to restore power to families left in the dark by a
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weekend snow and ice storm. >> it's very rewarding to be here and help people out. >> reporter: and while rough going made for tough going for delivery drovers, weather isn't solely to blame. fed ex reported some delays and ups, the world's largest package delivery company apologized to des appointed customers saying ups is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination, however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity. the company will resume deliveries tomorrow. in ft. worth, texas, a few people tried picking up their packages last night. >> they made me drive down here for no reason. >> reporter: social media became a sounding board. one woman rigwrites, it's their christmas too. another wrote, i waited at my house all day for nothing. now i don't have any gifts for my loved ones.
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in virginia, this woman's packages didn't arrive. >> i was frustrated because i had paid additional for the shipment to be rushed. >> reporter: missing packages aside, the day was filled with tradition and good tidings. the uso greeted service members. volunteers served hot meals in d.c. >> this is a place where you can come and feel like a family. >> reporter: in california, let there be light. 370,000 lights on a san francisco home. >> i think it was pretty magical. he got to see the elves and santa claus. >> reporter: near buy, one homeowner matched the sentiment if not the wattage. and at this star buck, the christmas spirit lit up the cash register and some hearts. >> somebody paid it forward for us. >> reporter: more than 400 random acts of kindness.
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amazon says it will refund some shipping charges. rockefeller center is jammed with people getting a good look at the tree. tomorrow the stores are expecting to be jammed with shoppers looking for after christmas bargains. >> thank you. and for more on the weather going forward this holiday week, we turn to weather channel meteorologist mark elliot. what can we expect? >> the good news here is that most of the country will see very quiet conditions for your traveling days coming up. the bad news is what we're seeing right now. it's all about the cold temperatures to the northeast where we are looking at a lot of people without power from maine to michigan. these are seasonably low temperatures. as for those of you traveling over the next couple days, a weak storm system coming out of the great lakes into the northeast with moderate snow, nothing that will slow you down too much. and the west, near record
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temperatures outside los angeles over the next couple days. friday extremely quiet over the whole country. we go into the weekend and we have a couple systems to watch. another round of light snow through the great lakes. this will also drag in very cold temperature, spilling all the way through the center of the country from sunday into monday. and the southeast gets its own area of low pressure. that will send rain here. the best day to travel is friday. you can avoid all that weekend mess. thank you. and overseas today, pope francis presided over his first christmas at the vatican with a surprise outreach in his christmas day address and some notable differences from his predecessor. martin fletcher has our report tonight from the vatican. >> reporter: he began humbly, as usual for him. good morning and merry
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christmas. but pope francis on his first day of christmas as head of the catholic church quickly got down to his real message, an emotional appeal against war and violence. in syria, iraq, the congo, south sudan, everywhere, but he soon departed from his prepared text calling on believers of all religions to unite against war. the most vulnerable he said are battered women, children, the sick. and his lesson of love echoed beyond his 1.2 billion followers, like this jewish family from maine. >> going forward we can do great things together. >> reporter: the contrast between pope francis and his predecessor is clear. pope benedict last year in ermine fur. pope francis today, as simple as it gets. >> he's awesome.
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>> reporter: and christmas eve said it all. overturning tradition, francis placed the statue of baby jesus in the manger, a moment of humility. pope francis stressed that when jesus was born, he was homeless. and to help the poor and homeless is the pope's key message. we see how that plays out here in rome today, just minutes from the vatican, christmas lunch for 400 needy. lasagna and christmas cake. lunch is free in many churches in rome but has special significance for the poor as pope francis continually speaks out in their behalf. this homeless man says i like him just as he is. so do a growing number of people. pope francis, putting a new, open face to the catholic church. martin fletcher, nbc news, rome. tonight, president obama is spending christmas in hawaii where he is on a family
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vacation, but it is a working vacation, as the president monitors a big deadline that just passed for the health care law. our white house correspondent is traveling with the president and joans us now from honolulu. good evening. >> reporter: merry christmas to you. the white house is celebrating what could be a last minute gift of obamacare enrollments for coverage. beginning january 1, a record number of visits to the health care.gov website this week. but if people can show they missed yesterday's deadline it's adding to confusion. today in their annual christmas message, the president and the first lady urged americans to remember troops serving far from home. this afternoon they were visiting with service members and their families at a nearby base. another story is getting attention, that of edward
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snowden. today snowden aired comments since he went to russia this past summer. >> a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. they'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. >> reporter: the white house reiterated its position that snowden should be returned to the u.s. where he faces felony charges. >> thank you. overseas tonight, a big head heine from egypt where the military backed government has cracked down hard on deposed president mohamed morsi's muslim brotherhood, declaring it a terrorist group. that gives the government the power to charge any member of the brotherhood as a troirs. egyptian officials say this is because of a deadly bombing at a police station yesterday. the brotherhood has denied any involvement. and in afghanistan today,
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the u.s. embassy in kabul says no americans were hurt when the embassy compound came under fire from the taliban. meanwhile, tens of thousands of american troops still in afghanistan are spending christmas far from home and far from their families. for most of them, it will likely be the last christmas there before coming home, as the u.s. prepares to withdraw most troops by next summer. we have a report tonight from kabul. >> reporter: there are no silent nights for the troops in afghanistan. for the nearly 35,000 u.s. soldiers, all is not calm. just ask this specialist. it's business as usual. >> even though it's christmas, it feels like just another day. >> reporter: here at camp phoenix in kabul, everyone is doing their best to keep spirits bright. in the mailroom, christmas packages are handed out. 22,000 pounds of mail a day, and
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a reminder that folks back home care. in the dining hall, thousands of meals served with over 2,000 pounds of turkey. ♪ this, this is christ the king ♪ >> reporter: at church, weapons put aside for prayers and carols. they also admit it's really hard to be so far away on christmas day. >> morning, sir. merry christmas. >> reporter: this sergeant, a 31 year old single mom works in military intelligence. she keeps her mind and body fit with her gym buddies. this is her first year away for christmas. >> my daughter says she wishes we had a genie lamp to rub it
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and i could be home. >> reporter: but she has skype. >> don't cry, baby. >> reporter: sergeant laura misses her boys too, but says she can cope. >> spending time here, i've made a second family. >> reporter: a band of brothers and sisters, sharing their christmas far from home. nbc news, kabul. and one more note from afghanistan, a photo that caught our eye. it's army sergeant daniel purdue and his wife christina, about 7,000 miles away this christmas. he's in afghanistan, she is in new york, each holding up half a christmas card, then using an iphone app to combine them. on their facebook page, christina purdue wrote we may not get to be together for the holiday, but we still manage to come together with our holiday photo. still ahead tonight, christmas with the royals. a big family gathering and a new
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glimpse of little prince george. and later making a difference by playing matchmaker for a lot of new best friends this holiday season.
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we're back now on this christmas night with a big family gathering that's getting a lot of attention today because this particular family gathering happens to involve a queen and her royal heirs spending christmas at a giant estate.
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we have a report tonight from london. >> reporter: just like any family, christmas is one of the few occasions when the royals are all together. joining the queen at church this morning, kate and william and prince harry who just returned from his expedition to the south pole. the royal family's newest member was nowhere to be seen, but prince george did have a starring role in his great grandmother's traditional christmas message. >> here at home, my own family is a little larger this christmas. as so many of you well know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. >> reporter: as part of her message, previously unseen footage shows prince george at three months old. >> after the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph. >> reporter: watched over by mom, four generations of the royal family. >> one, two, three. >> good boy.
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>> i think there's a core message here. the messages are about family, they're about faith. and they're about belief and reflection. >> reporter: the queen also looked back on a year she celebrated 60 years on the thrown. >> all this i promise to do. >> reporter: as for 2014, we can expect to see more from her youngest a youngest heir. nbc news london. we're back in a moment with a lot of kids making the grade and paying back this holiday season for the people who helped them succeed.
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there's good news to report tonight from the international space station. after a successful spacewalk to repair a broken cooling pump. >> the refrigerator-sized pump is now up and working just fine.
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the astronauts even tweeted a couple pictures they snapped yesterday during their rare spacewalk. back here on earth, a great story from an elementary school in georgia. it involves a unique idea we first reported on several years ago that's now teaching more kids to look at crest has in a whole new way. >> reporter: away from the holiday hustle, from the traffic, the malls, the credit cards, we found an extraordinary shopping trip at atlanta. in this gym there are tables and tables of donated presents. gifts these kids couldn't afford to buy on their own. but all year, they've been collecting points for good behavior. >> here we go. >> reporter: and now they get to spend them. >> that's a great choice. >> reporter: not on themselves. >> how old is your other brother? >> reporter: but on their
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families. this fourth grader is on a mission. jewelry for his mom, an art kit for his brother and a purse for grandma. >> when you give something to somebody you feel special. >> reporter: organizers call it project gift, an idea three got back in 2009 when they saw a similar event in florida on nbc nightly news. this program started several years ago with just 50 needy kids. now it's grown to more than 300 and some 2,000 gifts. >> thank you. >> it's a wonderful feeling. it's infectious. >> reporter: an added bonus, the point system has brought discipline. after all, santa is always watching. >> we saw a decline in the number of absences. so it's really impacting how students are behaving during the school day. >> reporter: most of the kids here come from low-income
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families. for most, these are the first presents they've ever been able to give. >> this year my mama and grandma can have something under the tree too. >> reporter: once they make their selections, volunteers wrap them and who knew a gift label could mean so much? a holiday lesson that hopefully they'll carry for a lifetime. gabe gutierrez, nbc news tlants. when we come back, our christmas making a difference report, a flight home just in time for the holidays.
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our final story tonight is about operation holiday airlift, dubbed the big egest. hundreds of pets are getting a second chance thanks to volunteers. they're making a difference just in time for the holidays. >> reporter: for ten year old brock, the dalmatian mix, this is happiness. >> good dog. >> reporter: checking out his new digs, a 5 acre farm in washington. it's celli here in winter, but brock finds warmth in the arms
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of his new best friend, betty jo nolan. this is love, a perfect holiday. >> i'll wrap him up with a red ribbon. >> reporter: for brock, a second chance at life after he was abandoned in los angeles, left to fend for himself. his journey to his new hive began early one morning at a busy airport. wings of rescue launched its third annual holiday airlift. volunteers rounded up hundreds of dogs in overcrowded shelters who were living on borrowed time. how tough is it to see so many dogs here? >> it makes me want to cry. this is like the best opportunity ever. >> reporter: wings of rescue has saved 6,000 dogs, flying them to safe homes. >> what's the most gratifying part about all of this for you? >> knowing we saved 500 dogs this week. >> reporter: to get their off the ground, it takes hundreds of
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volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars in donations. gomer here, is headed to washington state. bob delong is one of 20 volunteer pilot, flying dogs to safe shelters in oregon, montana, idaho and washington. >> it's nice to give back and do a little charity. >> reporter: in bellingham, bobo meets his new best friend. >> she's absolutely everything i could have dreamed for. >> reporter: for these dogs and their new families. >> my christmas present to me. >> reporter: there's no place like a new home for the holidays. >> you like that? >> reporter: miguel almaguer, california. that's our broadcast for this christmas night. thank you for being with us. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. and we leave you tonight with a look at that gorgeous christmas tree, sparkling over the rink.
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merry christmas everyone. goodnight. ♪ thousands of gifts did not make it under the christmas tree. rog and jessica are off tonight. we're going to get to that story in just a minute. but while many people in the bay area shop, it's nice to know that many took time to help others today. we found the christmas spirit here in the bay area. scott? >> reporter: good evening, terry. here in downtown jose, big
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attraction christmas in the park. a lot of people here enjoying their family, friends and christmas night. we found a lot of bay area residents willing to set aside their christmas presents for at least part of the day to help those in the community who don't have as much. >> volunteers left home to spen some quality time giving a boost to others who could use a helping hand. >> well, i could be on the other end of this at any moment. you know, does it matter whether you're good or bat? at some point, somebody is going to need some help. so i'm out here helping. >> both glide and the salvation army brought in volunteers to help distribute food and care packages in san francisco, while in the south bay san jose's sacred heart community

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